The Only Source of Paralegal News: Feb. 2

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LSUC Removes Two Paralegal Licensing Exemptions
Discipline: Licences Revoked, Suspended, from A to Z
Paralegal Education & Licensing Exam: Update
Firms, Entities to be Regulated -- Not Just Licensees
No More Paper Invoices
William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award -- Deadline Jan. 30
Law Society Events: Convocation Broadcast, Access to Justice Webcast
Loving “Leaning In”

Reena Basser reviews the bestselling book, “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell (2013). Basser finds the book’s message resonates with women in the legal profession.

I hate self-help books. I hate self-help books for women. I hate self-help books for women by those highly successful people. You know where I’m going.

Set limits, set boundaries, and make work matter: Dispelling myths about “having it all” and the “supermom” leader in the workplace
Actually I loved this book. Lean In is authored by Sandberg, a CEO of Facebook and previously the same at Google. She has kids, a life, hobbies, and of course work. But mostly she has downright simple, healthy advice for both genders. For instance, the chapter on “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” reminds us that we need to utter that mantra frequently. I would have respond to the judge that custom in the court overrides the legislation, or I would tell my client how weak his case is, or I would make the adverse party’s paralegal aware of how many precedent cases I have to support my approach. This “self-help” approach never gets old.

Sandberg really shines when she discusses the females in her firm: smart engineers (typically) who want to know how to “do it all.” Lean In breaks the false idealized image of the “supermom” and explains how to limit oneself, how to set boundaries but mostly how to make work matter. Sandberg advises: Take that important promotion when you are seven months pregnant; work from home at times; and don’t deny yourself the opportunity because you MIGHT have a family that MIGHT need you.

Practice Management Resources
uLawPractice
With reporting and reconciliation season upon us, paralegals’ thoughts naturally turn to better ways to keep track of financials and case matters. These days, those issues include the cloud.

A group of Ontario-based paralegals gathered on January 18 to get educated on what cloud-based practice management is, and how products such as uLawPractice can help to ensure compliance with regulations around proper financial reporting.

Held at the North York Library Auditorium, the free “lunch & learn” covered the basics of what cloud technology is, and how it can make routine but necessary tasks easier, while helping to ensure compliance with the Law Society’s financial reporting requirements. Presented by the Ontario Paralegal Network, the information session targeted solo and small legal services providers who worry about practice audits. Proper bookkeeping is not the main reason paralegals got into the field, but failing to meet minimum standards can have severe consequences. This is among the pain points that uLaw seeks to alleviate.

Spend more time on advocacy, and less on accounting, by leveraging cloud technology to seamlessly blend case management and bookkeeping
Terry Curtis, CEO of uLawPractice and an expert on cloud technology, said paralegals should assess various products before deciding which solution is best for their practice. Some products are not truly available any time, anywhere, Curtis noted. Privacy regulations may not be as rigorous as necessary, and some systems do not offer integration with existing products. Important points include operational, efficiency and return on investment issues.

Decisive & Persuasive
Paralegal Karen Fair

Paralegal Karen Fair summarizes a case in which an application was dismissed by the Human Rights Tribunal.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) reiterates jurisdiction rules in Toker v. 1044765 Ontario Inc., 2014 HRTO 1159 (CanLII). The tribunal found that, where an applicant makes the same claim regarding human rights violations requesting the same remedies in civil proceedings as in a HRTO application, the application to the HRTO is outside its jurisdiction if it meets the requirements of section 34(11) of the Human Rights Code. The intent of section 34(11) is to prevent duplicate court and Tribunal proceedings.

In this case, the applicant raised the same facts and issues in both his statement of claim and his application to the HRTO. The applicant alleged that he experienced panic attacks stemming from his disability and stated that his mistreatment at work partly triggered panic attacks. He alleged that his employer dismissed him without cause because he had to leave early as a result of a panic attack. Further, the applicant requested damages for the violation of the Human Rights Code in his statement of claim.

Writing for the HRTO, David Muir, Vice-chair, found that “the requirements of section 34(11) are met here in that a civil proceeding has been commenced where damages are sought for alleged violations of the Code and that proceeding has not been finally determined, withdrawn or settled. For these reasons the Application is dismissed.”

Related Information & Cases
  • Reminder: OHSA coverage extended to unpaid co-op students, other unpaid learners, trainee
  • Worker killed while inflating a tire; Athens, Ont. Company fined $70,000 for failing to protect a worker, under OHSA
  • Addiction to drugs and alcohol are disabilities. Addicts lie. Employers must accommodate addictions. Arbitrator reinstates rail conductor who had lied about his cocaine use during an accident investigation.
  • Workplace violence is not just cause for termination
  • Target, media narratives & employment law – Legal issues as the retailer high-tails it back south of the border
  • Supreme Court Canada will not hear challenge from retailers over debit card swipe fees
New at CanLII & CanLII Connects
  • Former lawyer’s claim against the Law Society, a former justice minister, and others, is dismissed as “Frivolous, vexatious, scandalous, embarrassing, and an abuse of process of the court. “No one should have to spend money responding and no further court resources should be utilized for this matter.” Nolan v. LSUC, 2014 ONSC 7196 (CanLII)
  • “Fearless and zealous representation” versus “efficient and affordable justice”: Justice Myers weighs in on claims, counterclaims and delays — Unimac v. Cobra Power Inc., 2014 ONSC 7245 (CanLII)
  • Privilege: Municipal councillors cannot hide behind privilege for defamatory statements made in council chambers — Gutowski v. Clayton, 2014 ONCA 921 (CanLII)

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